Children burned in Guatemala volcano eruption to be treated in US
Guatemalan children who were seriously burned in a deadly volcanic eruption in their home country will be brought to the United States for treatment, officials said. Shriners Hospitals for Children, a Florida-based charity providing pediatric specialty care in 22 non-profit medical facilities, said in a statement Tuesday that it will admit several children who are in critical condition with burn injuries from Sunday’s eruption.
The U.S. military was expected to move the children more than 1,500 miles to the Galveston Shriners Hospital pediatric burn center in Galveston, Texas, according to the charity.
The U.S. Southern Command confirmed to ABC News that six children were scheduled to be airlifted Wednesday from Guatemala City.
The Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, in Guatemala on Sunday spewed a fountain of scorching-hot lava and thick clouds of black smoke and ash that cascaded over several regions of the Central American nation, including the capital, Guatemala City.
The volcano has erupted several times since then with mostly moderate explosions that spouted ashy plumes over 3 miles into the air and spewed more fast-moving volcanic matter, according to Guatemala’s seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute.
At least 75 people have been killed and dozens more were missing, according to Guatemala’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance. Guatemalan officials told ABC News they expect the death toll to rise in the coming days.
Meanwhile, some 3,265 people have been evacuated and more than 1,800 people have taken refuge in shelters, according to Guatemala’s National Coordination for Disaster Reduction.
Shriners Hospitals for Children said it deployed an emergency medical team from the Galveston Shriners Hospital to provide onside evaluation and care for the wounded in Guatemala within 24 hours of Sunday’s volcanic eruption. The team coordinated with Guatemalan and U.S. officials to secure approval to transfer children who needed further treatment in the United States.
A second emergency medical team from the Boston Shriners Hospital is on standby to travel to Guatemela to provide additional support, the charity said, adding that it is continuing to work “closely” with Guatemalan and U.S. officials.
“Shriners Hospitals is uniquely prepared to respond to a tragedy of this proportion, having specialized pediatric burn hospitals across the country,” said John McCabe, executive vice president of Shriners Hospitals for Children. “We have a deep history of mobilizing to respond to tragedies across the globe and have committed to help these children. We view ourselves as a global force for children and each and every day we bring love to the rescue to children around the world.”